The Healing Rose

On Recovery Suite (INI.ITU #1304), we hear the Shakuhachi flute of Clive Bell alongside electronic treatments and tones from David Ross and the Droscillator. These two players are old partners, and have worked together before for instance on the 2005 album Mystery Lights & Nightflower. Clive Bell, famed English improviser and music expert, is a serious student of this Japanese instrument, and probably second only to David Toop in this field. This isn’t the album to buy if you want to hear his unadorned flute at work (for that, I expect you need to go back to his 1995 album for ARC Music, which looks like a definitive statement), as the electronic music tends to dominate and I think sometimes may even vary the sound of the flute; that said, when the flute comes in audibly, it’s quite a bracing and at times poignant effect.

As to David Ross (drummer in Kenny Process Team), his instrument is a modified analogue oscillator of some sort, and he may have used it in previous collaborations with Evan Parker. Parker was quick off the mark when it came to blending his saxophone with electronic treatments and accompaniments; his Solar Wind album with Lawrence Casserley came out in 1997, and remains a benchmark of this “genre” for me. Ross produces ambient-ish tones, innovative (though not especially bold) experiments and gestures in electronic sound, and beats which resemble avant-techno or glitch music, blending all of these with Bell’s amplified and (possibly) treated / processed flute.

The track titles make numerous references to trauma and healing, which is directly connected to David Ross and his major back problems – he had an injury that confined him to bed for several weeks, which is no laughing matter (them slipped discs don’t repair themselves, you know). At this time he didn’t have access to his full instrument range, and perhaps even his movements were restricted; these conditions set the template for what became Recovery Suite. Not an unpleasant record, and its comforting tones can probably have its place as some form of spiritual or mental balm for the listener; indeed one track, ‘Sleep Healing’, suggests as much. From 8 May 2017.

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